Memorial Day is a time for remembrance of our comrades who died in the defense of our country. It also traditionally marks the beginning of the "101 critical days of summer." Many Soldiers and Civilians will celebrate with barbecues, picnics, parades, and extended travel plans. As outdoor activities increase we must instill effective risk mitigation in our employees as they plan their holiday and summer activities.

Off duty accident prevention must be at the forefront of our efforts. Statisticians predict that as many as 45 Soldiers will die in traffic accidents during the 101 critical days of summer if something is not done to break this deadly pattern. Across the Army, privately owned vehicle (POV) accident prevention has to be the primary focus. The majority of fatal traffic accidents occur off duty, involve alcohol consumption, reckless driving, and a failure to use seatbelts.

Leadership involvement at all levels, self discipline, risk management, as well as compliance with traffic laws, military regulations, and protection that comes from basic common sense, can improve our chances of making it through this holiday and the remaining summer months safely.

At a minimum, all first line supervisors/leaders will ensure all Soldiers traveling by or operating a POV on pass or leave complete the Travel Risks Planning System (TRiPS). Leaders will brief every Soldier and Civilian on holiday hazards and countermeasures they can take to avoid mishaps ensuring they stress the use of seatbelts and the hazards of drinking and driving.

Finally, I challenge each of you to think safety first during the Memorial Holiday weekend and as you plan your activities throughout the summer season.

KEVIN T. CAMPBELL Lieutenant General, USA Commanding General